by Tommy Underhill, GreenTech Heat
March 15, 2018
You may wonder why I included the bed bug photo of this red truck in this post. I oversaw cold-weather heat treatment development testing several years ago during a typical upstate New York January. I recall there being several feet of snow on the ground and it had snowed overnight. That day’s high was 18°F. We had loaded an uninsulated moving truck the day before, and the contents were cold. The icicles dripping from the truck were due to the snow melting from the roof of the truck while heat treating the contents. I know the GreenTech Heat process is effective in the cold.
Historically, reports of bed bug activity tend to quiet down during the Winter months. Bed bugs typically do not slow down feeding — they’re just as opportunistic feeders as during warmer parts of the year — humans tend to travel less and therefore transport fewer hitchhiking bed bugs.
Cold-weather bed bug heat treatment tips
I’ve put together a list of techniques to provide better results when eradicating bed bugs with heat during the colder months:
- Preheat the treatment zone - It’s always good advice to have the building owner preheat the treatment area with their thermostat-controlled heating system. Running full-bore, most residential or commercial building heating systems will not raise the internal ambient air temperature above 90°F, but even starting at this temperature can save hours on an otherwise cold-starting treatment.
- Treat for longer durations - When we arrive at the job site, we get the heaters up and running as soon as possible and begin heating the treatment area before we do anything else. Regardless of outside temperatures, we maintain treatment temperatures until the hardest-to-treat location remains at 140°F for at least two hours.
- Accurately verify heat treatment temperatures - We probe the coldest part of the treatment area... and we know where to find it! Keep in mind this location may be under the carpeting or down low along an outside wall. We know we have achieved a 100% kill when the hardest-to-heat location reaches and maintains lethal temperatures for the required time duration.
- Eliminate clutter - Bed bugs hide in so many places, you don’t need to provide any more for them. The greatest issue concerning bed bug heat treatments in cluttered areas: clutter acts as an insulator. Get rid of the clutter, reduce your treatment times, increase the efficacy of heat treatments.
- Maximize airflow - Beds and other furniture are often placed right against one or more walls in a room. Dust ruffles on beds can obstruct treatment airflow under and around a box spring and mattress, potentially limiting the furniture’s exposure to heated air and extending treatment times. We lift and secure the dust ruffle to allow heated air to flow all around the bed. We separate the mattress from the box springs so air can flow between and around these items. We move items away from walls and utilize aluminum blocks to raise air-blocking furniture like dressers away from the floor. We have the experience to ensure your treatment is a success.
- We use the right bed bug heater - Electric heaters generally produce between 19,000 BTU and 26,000 BTU. Our Titan 800 propane bed bug heaters generate 990,000 BTU — up to 50 times as much heat energy with significantly greater airflow. As air passes through the heater, our propane heaters can produce a 180.6°F net rise in air temperature. Our training and experience ensures there will be no damage to your belongings during a bed bug heat treatment. When it’s cold, a Titan is the most efficient way to heat!
Empirical measurements guarantee results
It is possible to achieve a 100% bed bug kill in any weather, regardless of starting temperatures and external ambient temperatures. As with any other insect heat treatment, there is only one mandatory criteria for a successful treatment: achieving lethal temperatures for the required time duration. Measure temperatures and log times and know when all the bed bugs, other insects, and their eggs in the treatment area are dead.
Call us at 513-604-6332 and let us help you eradicate and eliminate bed bugs from your home, rental property, or business. We offer both emergency bed bug services and general pest control.